The Bells in Taiwan: May 2011
Thinking INSIDE the Box
h c r u Ch
I remember the first time I heard the phrase “Church in a Box.” It was years ago during my internship with a church planting organization in Chicago. It was a “wink, wink, nod, nod” way to refer to a church that had no building. It made perfect since why they called it “church in a box,” because everything (except for the people) was kept in a box during the week. Usually in a big, weather proof trailer that was hauled to the meeting place every Sunday; unloaded in the morning, and packed away that night. Everything was kept in this trailer, everything from lights and sound to diapers and infant “chew toys.” In the church plants I saw, the strategy of “church in a box” was a transitory phase. The idea was to grow with low overhead until the fellowship was large enough to sustain a permanent facility. It made perfect since. Being a “church in a box,” you are indeed restricted. Creativity with rooms and spaces is limited, activities and events have to be organized and held at a new place each time, not to mention the early mornings and late nights it takes to set up, “do church,” and tear down, within the time allotted for your borrowed facility. To move into a permanent facility is to give the church the breathing room it needs to grow. But, to me there has always been something attractive and exciting about the “church in the box” IDEA. It is the same thing that makes commando units awesome, the same thing that makes Ferraris fast, the same thing that makes the show “Clean Sweep” so inspiring, and the same thing that makes the IPad so cool. Simplicity, having only what you need to
get the job done. The way I see it, the restrictions of “church in a box” really give it freedom, freedom to do whatever or go wherever it needs to get the job done. It is the box that makes the church: streamlined, creative, simple, sustainable, and mobile. Sure you donʼt have the space and the stuff, but you do have everything you need. My thought is, what if we can take this box and reduce it until you can carry it under your arm. Reduce it so that anybody can carry it, to any place. Do you get it? What are the essentials of planting churches that plant churches? Our strategy here in FengYuan is to make everything we do simple and reproducible. We know that if we want to see a church planting movement (CPM), the churches being planted must be able to be entirely reproduced by Taiwanese. Everything we add to “church” that doesʼt fit in our “box” of “simple and reproducible” creates drag and awkwardness. Every “necessary” part of a worship service, or instruments, technology, culture, or method that is added to our box if not carefully chosen will make the “box” heavy, awkward, and unbearable by Taiwanese church planters, stopping a CPM in its tracks.
Youth Church In the beginning of June we are starting youth church. Let me take a second to explain the name. The format of the meeting will look very much like a “youth group.” But I want the DNA of this group to be different from youth groups I have done before. I donʼt want our students to bring their friends to youth church, I want our students to bring youth church to their friends. I also donʼt want our students to come and be “churched” but to be the church. The youth group at our first work in Yong He City, is now almost entirely youth planned and led. That group has been inspiring for us here in FengYuan; seeing that a youth group can become indigenous and “lay led.” And if it is possible for a youth group to be student planned and led, what is keeping that group from happening in the studentʼs schools, and after school hangouts.
My goal is to equip them, both figuratively and literally, with a Church in a box. I want to provide the students with the tools they need and the training they need to get the job done, the job of planting youth churches at schools and 7-11ʼs in FengYuan. So what we do from day one of youth church matters. We are beginning June 11th and would love for you to pray specifically for this activity. Be praying for the students who come, ask that they will be prompted to invite their friends, and from there begin going out. I see much potential in this, and Iʼm praying God will do much with our meager beginnings.
Letter from Team Expansion President Dear friend, Thank you for the help you give through your prayers, gifts, and encouragement. Your favorite Team Expansion missionary is seeking to seize this special moment in time for the unreached. The Bible uses a very special word for a "special moment in time." That word is "Kairos." Our purpose at Team Expansion is to transform communities among the unreached by planting Biblical churches. It's highly likely that you and your church are perfectly aligned with that purpose, so we're inviting you and up to 2 others from your church to attend a special course called Kairos at Emerald Hills. To learn more, browse to... www.teamexpansion.org/kairos where you'll find dates, times, outlines, and more. And thank you, again, for your partnership in helping the unreached to come in contact with the Good News of our Savior! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Doug Lucas